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In Memoriam: David James, 1923-2016

Being the first African-American to buy a house in Winnetka was just one of many milestones in the eventful life of David James. His multi-faceted personality and lifelong work for social justice were recalled at the July 29th funeral mass at Sacred Heart, where he was a longtime parishioner. Born in St. Louis, Mr. James […]

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Winnetka’s Spiegel Family: Installment Credit Pioneers

By Tane Beecham For more than four decades, 410 Sheridan Road was home to the Spiegels, founding family of the Chicago-based mail order company, Spiegel Inc., and its iconic “Spiegel Catalog.” Universally known to consumers in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, the company opened its doors in 1865 under the name “J. Spiegel & Company” […]

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The Laundry: Still Fresh at 40

By Laurie Petersen In January, 1976 the Winnetka Talk featured the surprising headline, “Doing the Laundry can be fun.” This was because a large commercial laundry building in the middle of the Village would no longer be taking in dirty clothing—it would instead offer elegant new apparel for sale. It would also have stores offering […]

Map showing geological context of the Skokie Lagoons.

Getting to Know Winnetka’s Own Science Guy

An interview with WHS Board President Charlie Shabica By Sally Schneiders It all started just prior to a recent Winnetka Historical Society board meeting when Charlie Shabica plunked down on the table a replica of a Tully Monster, an antique flintlock pistol and a seventeenth century silver Spanish dollar. Charlie passed each artifact around so […]

660 Prospect in 1971

House of the Season: 660 Prospect Avenue

by Justine Hourihane Rounding the bend of Prospect Avenue, on an elevated parcel of land within walking distance to the lake and town, the Sturgis family saw the ideal location for their custom home to be designed by renowned architect William Otis. Originally from France, Charles Inches Sturgis started working as a clerk at the […]

Winnetka Fourth of July Foundations

By Susan Whitcomb The Fourth of July was designated a national holiday by the United States Congress in 1870, just one year after Winnetka was granted its village charter by the State of Illinois. The oldest official evidence of Winnetka’s independence celebration is a printed program from 1873. Headlined as a “National Celebration,” it took […]

Capias. Inside view. WHS object 3080.

From the Curator, Fall 2015

We welcomed Robert Franklin as our 2015 summer digital exhibits intern. As we said goodbye to The Adventurers installation, he created an online exhibit based on the original so the research and stories told would live on. Our collections inventory is in full swing. Volunteer Bill McKay is working with our oversized files, starting with […]

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2015 Winnetka Preservation Awards

By Nan Greenough Every spring the Winnetka Landmark Preservation Commission accepts nominations for the annual Preservation Awards program and conducts an award presentation at a Village Council meeting in the fall. The Preservation Awards program seeks to honor construction projects that have helped preserve the history and character of the Village. Private, commercial, and public […]

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Before Forest Glen – The Dennehy Estate

By Tane Beecham Someone out for a stroll through Hubbard Woods in the early 1900s would have observed many new homes going up as the area became increasingly populated with family-sized houses on manageable lots. One would also have taken note of a very large 10-acre wooded plot of land on the north side of Tower […]